Romania’s Simona Halep hugs United States’ Serena Williams after defeating her in the women’s singles final match on day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 13, 2019.(Laurence Griffiths/Pool Photo via AP)
- Serena Williams v Simona Halep is expected to be the closest of all the women’s quarterfinals
- Halep has beaten Williams only twice in 11 meetings, in special circumstances both times
- The odds are close on this match. Should they be? We break it down
Simona Halep’s head-to-head record against the legend (as she calls her) Serena Williams is not a lustrous one.
She has beaten her twice. But both times the circumstances were rather unusual.
The first time came in the round-robin portion of the 2014 WTA Tour year-end championships. But when they met in the final a few days later, Williams thumped her.
The second win came when Halep was playing dream tennis at Wimbledon in 2019. Williams, just back from maternity leave and chasing history, had absolutely no answers.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep Odds
| Serena Williams (USA)||-1.5 (-112)||-136||O 21.5 (-125)|
| Simona Halep (ROU)||+1.5 (-114)||+110||U 21.5 (-+100)|
Odds taken Feb. 15 from DraftKings
Halep Fighting Hard so Far in Melbourne
Simona Halep might not have been playing her best tennis so far in this Australian Open.
But she has brought her best fight.
She should probably have been out against Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round. But she somehow found a path to victory even as Tomljanovic’s possible lack of belief helped her along.
In the round of 16 against reigning French Open Iga Swiatek, Halep erased some scar tissue from a shocking 6-1, 6-2 thumping in the round of 16 at that event, just four months ago.
Williams Looking Fit and Feisty
Arriving in Melbourne looking as fit as she has since returning from maternity leave, Williams found herself playing a 22-year-old version of herself, in some ways, in the fourth round.
The 39-year-old American stared down the future in facing Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. And she came away with the victory even if Sabalenka was the slight favorite in what was expected to be (and was) a very close encounter.
Serena’s last Slam in Oz
Williams has been chasing down the record of 24 career Grand Slam singles titles held by Aussie Margaret Court since she returned from having daughter Olympia.
This may well be her best chance. No. 23 came – can it really be? – four long years ago, at the 2017 Australian Open.
Williams was already pregnant with Olympia in that final. But only she and sister Venus, her opponent, knew it
The American has made two Wimbledon and two US Open finals since then. But has yet to earn that record-equalling title.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep Head to Head Statistics
|39 (Sept. 26, 1981)||Age||29 (Sept. 27, 1991)|
|Saginaw, Michigan||Birthplace||Constanta, Romania|
|73||WTA Singles Titles||22|
|23||Grand Slam Singles Titles||3|
|No. 11||Current Ranking||No. 2|
|No. 1 (July 8, 2002)||Career High Ranking||No. 1 (Oct. 9, 2017)|
|$93,634,937||Career Prize Money||$37,045,910|
Overcoming Australian Surprises
Williams was shocked out of the tournament in the quarterfinals in 2019, and again in the third round a year ago.
By reaching the quarterfinals, she has erased those memories. If she can win the title, it would be her eighth in Australia.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep – Last 5 Hard-Court Meetings
|2019||Australian Open||R16||6-1, 4-6, 6-4||Williams|
|2016||US Open||QF||6-2, 4-6, 6-3||Williams|
|2016||Indian Wells||QF||6-4, 6-3||Williams|
|2015||Cincinnati||F||6-3, 7-6 (5)||Williams|
|2015||Miami||SF||6-2, 4-6, 7-5||Williams|
Pick Serena For the Win
Halep has played pretty well so far in the tournament, Williams has been closer to her vintage. Her win over Sabalenka – even if Sabalenka has yet to make a deep run in a Grand Slam, was a statement.
Halep last beat Williams a year and a half ago, in a dream Wimbledon for her. It was arguably the best match she has played in her career.
Somewhat surprisingly, they have played little in recent years. But the dynamic hasn’t changed much.
And the quick surface in Melbourne this year is a big enhancement for Williams’ power, especially on serve. As nimble as Halep is, it gives her even less time to chase everything down.
Still, Williams has come to the pointy end of the major events before in recent years, and something always happens to prevent her from hoisting the trophy. But you wouldn’t ever bet against her, against Halep, on a hard court (as the above graphic indicates).
Prediction: Williams in three sets (+132)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.